You’ve been pouring your heart into providing your students with a comprehensible input-rich acquisition environment all year long, and now you’re wondering how much of that effort will still be evident by September! Summer homework, unless students are heading into an AP class in the fall, is probably not the motivation your students need. However, a wide variety of SUGGESTIONS might be just what your students need to keep that spark alive until you meet again! Here are some ideas my friends Martina Bex, Carrie Toth, and Nelly Hughes helped me brainstorm to help our students (and yours) keep connecting with language all summer!
Have you been sharing great target language music all year long with your students? Consider making a YouTube or Spotify playlist (look for Placido’s class playlist on Spotify!). Encourage students to follow it and send you suggestions for songs to add! Another great way for students to stay connected musically is with Lyricstraining.com. Students can search for any song and listen as they fill in missing words in the lyrics. Quick! Type it in before the song pauses!
Students love stories and they are even more fun to read when they have been written by other students. The problem with that is the errors can really interfere with any kind of good comprehensible input! Martina Bex to the rescue! In 2017, Martina unveiled one of her many gifts to the world: Revista Literal. This is an online magazine written BY students FOR students, but also professionally edited by Martina with help from Nelly Hughes. Not only can students keep their Spanish sharp by reading, but they can also submit their own stories if they feel inspired to write!
So, Spanish is covered! Who wants to start a similar resource for other target languages?
Another great source of stories for both the classroom as well as for students on their own is Laurie Clarcq and Michele Whaley’s Embedded Reading site! There are scaffolded stories students can read in several languages! My suggestion would be to select several readings and link directly to them or print them out for students as this site might be a little overwhelming for students to navigate on their own.
French teachers and students will LOVE Alice Ayel‘s YouTube channel! Alice teaches her subscribers French in a pleasant and natural way, and her voice is delightful to listen to! In addition to telling stories, Alice also takes viewers to various locations and teaches all kinds of cultural information! She has French subtitles too! Highly recommended!
For Spanish teachers and students, there is Dreaming Spanish. This is a channel devoted to telling stories comprehensibly as well as teaching about culture in Spain. They produce a new video every two days! Word on the street is that Pablo Pankun Román from Dreaming Spanish is coming to Portland OR for a one-day workshop on July 9 and will also be at the Agen conference! Lucky teachers that get to learn from him!
Did you know that Fluency Matters offers individual e-courses in Spanish, French, and even Mandarin? For only $6 students can purchase access to the online Comprehension-Based Reader of their choice, the online audio book, and activities for each chapter! For schools wishing to provide students with e-courses, the courses start at just $3.50 per student based on enrollment! Students will have access all summer long, as the subscription is valid for 5 full months!
Culture and non-fiction in the Target language
News in Slow ______ features very clear audio of news stories, spoken slowly. The news stories are accompanied by the story written out in the target language. In the written story, there are glossed words and phrases which are instantly translated simply by mousing over them. For a subscription fee, students can unlock more content, but it is mostly grammar. The Spanish version allows you to select “Spanish spoken in” Latin America or Spain.
NewsELA features current news stories and students are able to select their reading level. There is a very large library of Spanish articles. This site requires an account to use, but there is a great deal of content available for free!
Veinte Mundos is recommended for intermediate or advanced proficiency students. It features many many great articles in Spanish! Articles are accompanied by audio and often feature additional external links or embedded video.
Maybe not entirely comprehensible, but who doesn’t love a good summer-long Netflix binge. Check out all of the offerings in your target language! Preview prior to recommending to students, but for teachers, Netflix can be the BEST source of language development next to actually spending the summer immersed in the target culture!
Share these ideas with your students!
Justin Buehler of Spanish Plans created this awesome printable infographic to share summer acquisition ideas with students! Print it out or share it via social media!
How are YOU keeping your students engaged over the summer? Let us know in the comments!
Kristy Placido is the editor of the CI Peek blog. She is the author of several readers for Spanish learners and presents workshops for teachers on teaching with comprehensible input. She has been using comprehensible input and acquisition-based approaches in her own classroom since 1998. Check out her blog at kplacido.com and follow her on twitter and facebook!
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